Hey there Guys,
As if being a gay man didn’t come without its unique problems, being a gay man and finding a doctor can be even harder.
I don’t know if you have ever had to go through the experience of first finding a doctor whose books are open, then starting the process of “getting to know them”. Those first few appointments can be difficult as many doctors, despite their training know little about the ins and outs of being a gay man; some are dismissive and some are down right rude…
One of my biggest challenges has been to find my own doctor with whom I feel comfortable enough to be able discuss my life openly. If I found it hard and I’m already a doctor, I can imagine just how difficult it is for someone who is not a doctor!
Today I wanted to cover a few tips that can make finding your ideal doctor just that little bit easier.
When it comes to choosing a doctor I have three important criteria that if not met, are deal breakers:
- Does this doctor leave me feeling like I have been listened to during the appointment?
- Is the doctor competent, do I feel like they “know their stuff”?
- Does this doctor have a good network of other doctors should I need specialist care?
As I am sure I have talked about in other blog posts, gay men have different health needs to their straight counterparts, particularly when it comes to sexual health. It’s vital for optimal care that you feel 100% comfortable sharing your concerns and what is happening in your life.
Outside of sexual health, gay men are at higher risks for cancers of the throat, mouth and ass, we have higher risks for depression and suicide and lifestyle issues can make prescribing some medications more tricky then with other men. Even something as straight forward as vaccinations are different with gay men benefiting with vaccinations for Hepatitis A and HPV virus.
For this reason I am a believer that sometimes it’s worth considering having a gay doctor, as they usually have a vested interest in knowing all about health of men who have sex with men. Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent straight doctors out there but for me I like them to be pretty clued in on the health issues I worry about. All that said my current doctor is a very cool lady.
So how do you go about finding your perfect doctor?
For me the first port of call is my friends. I recommend you take a couple of mates out for a coffee and ask the question, “Do you know of any good doctors in the area?” or “Are you happy with your current doctor? Can you recommend anyone for me?”
Most of the time word of mouth is an excellent way of finding a great doctor. While many doctors are quite popular, and soma have closed books, never overlook doctors who are new to town working in the same group practice. This way you get the advantage of a doctor whose books are not closed with the brains of the other doctors should you need referral to specialists not yet known by the new doctor.
Often I will make a check up appointment for general medical issues and get a feel for the doctor. Don’t feel afraid to let it all hang out. The doctor is there to help you obtain optimal health, without knowing the full story it can be difficult. If I get a bad reaction or don’t feel comfortable I just make a mental note that this person is not the doctor for me and move forward.
If friends are not that clued in on the local medical scene the next best step can be getting to know the doctors at your local gay and lesbian health service. Most major cities will have at least one. If they are not listed in Google they will usually advertise in the gay press.
Failing this have a chat to doctors at your local sexual health clinic. They will normally know which family doctors are competent and working with a large amount of gay patients.
If you are living in a smaller community, finding a good doctor can be hard. Again it’s worth looking around to find someone you fit best with but don’t be afraid to look at other cities around your area if you are not happy locally. Some people who responded to my question on Facebook noted they were quite happy to travel 2 hours to see their favourite doctor!
Guys, I know that the quest for your perfect doctor may seem a little daunting but I hope that this video and article has helped open your mind to the idea that yes indeed there is going to be a doctor that is perfect for you. Trust me having a “partner in health” you feel safe and confident with is absolutely worth the effort.
I know this is a hot topic so please feel free to share your thoughts below. I’ll do my best to help answer any questions you may have.
Yours in great health,
PS. If you are looking for a gay friendly doctor in Melbourne Australia please feel free to contact me at Era Health Bourke St Melbourne (03) 9944 6200